Franco Di Santo and Angelo Henriquez were sitting on the substitutes bench when Wigan Athletic enjoyed one of the club's greatest ever days, beating Manchester City to win the 2013 FA Cup.
Both South Americans have since gone back home. And nearly eight years later the former colleagues were on opposite sides over the last two weeks in the qualifying round of the continent’s Champions League, the Copa Libertadores.
There was a clear winner in the duel of former Premier League strikers. Di Santo scored in both legs as San Lorenzo of Argentina won a 3-1 aggregate victory over Universidad de Chile.
Di Santo is playing in his native Argentina for the first time. He made his name over the border in Chile with Audax Italiano, where he was snapped up by Chelsea as a teenager.
He failed to make the grade at Stamford Bridge, and had little success with Blackburn Rovers before doing a little better with Wigan.
His best times came with Werder Bremen in Germany, where he then moved on to Schalke before passing quickly through Spain and Brazil before joining up with San Lorenzo last year.
Angelo Henriquez was another teenage wonderkid taken from Chile to one of England’s top clubs. Now approaching 27 he is five years younger than Di Santo, and he joined Manchester United in 2012.
Di Santo made a few appearances for Chelsea, but Henriquez never played a competitive game for United.
He was loaned out to Wigan and Real Zaragoza, did well for Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia and after a brief spell in Mexico with Atlas headed back to Universidad de Chile, where the journey had started so promisingly.
Around the time he was turning 18, Henriquez was surprisingly promoted to the first team by current Marseilles boss Jorge Sampaoli, and he took to it immediately.
He cut an electric figure, full of pace and thrust and daring – very different from the sad figure seen against Franco Di Santo’s San Lorenzo.
Universidad de Chile badly needed a big performance from him, especially in the second leg. The first game, at home, had finished 1-1.
They travelled to Buenos Aires for the return match without some of their key players, hit by a Covid outbreak.
The defence was hard hit, and with lots of youngsters at the back they were looking for their striker to ease the pressure with a vital away goal.
It never looked likely. Henriquez had a terrible game. He should be at the peak of his powers. But he looked nothing like the bright and lively teenager who made such an impression almost a decade ago.
It is not hard to see both Di Santo and, especially Henriquez, as victims of the way that the market in player transfers currently operates.
Europe is looking for South American teenagers – they come cheaper and buying them young gives them more time to adapt to life and football on the other side of the Atlantic.
But there is a huge step up from the level of the club game in South America to top class European football.
Some are not able to bridge it. Afterwards it is no wonder if they lose confidence and momentum.
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